Essay on Antigone Deserves More Sympathy than Creon

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Antigone Deserves More Sympathy than Creon

In the Antigone, unlike the Oedipus Tyrannus, paradoxically, the hero who is left in agony at the end of the play is not the title role. Instead King Creon, the newly appointed and tyrannical ruler, is left all alone in his empty palace with his wife's corpse in his hands, having just seen the suicide of his son. However, despite this pitiable fate for the character, his actions and behavior earlier in the play leave the final scene evoking more satisfaction than pity at his torment. The way the martyr Antigone went against the King and the city of Thebes was not entirely honorable or without ulterior motives of fulfilling pious concerns but it is difficult to lose sight of the fact
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Creon indeed is so happy about the prospect of his lack of burial he is almost gloating, though this is a typical Greek response over a fallen enemy "for the birds and dogs to tear, an obscenity"(Sophocles).

But consider how Creon came to make the declaration. The decree may fit the crime but how would an Athenian feel about the way that Creon came to his decision? The Athenians were very proud of their democratic decision-making and Creon's despotic and forceful control over his new city can not have been received well. His decree is made, not in with consultation with the elders in a referendum, on his own. He has not even consulted Tiresias even though he trusts him implicitly "I've never wavered from your advice before"(Sophocles). The edict he makes on his own and he merely informs the people of his decision ("if this is your pleasure...the power is yours, I suppose"). Even though Creon himself has said that the "ship of state is safe", he is still acting like the city needs martial governance. The tyrannical behaviour of Creon means that he gives little chance to the sentry to explain his story and is very threatening in his treatment of the man "never save your life"(Sophocles). The right to free speech (parresia) was a basic principle of Athenian democracy and as such was attacked by the enemies of democracy, oligarchs and tyrants. It is this free speech which is only minimally given to the sentry "Still talking? You talk
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